Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 7: Knowing their Needs

Day 7
Theme: Knowing their Needs
Passage: John 4:1-26

It’s hot today, mid after noon sun is making the air dry and causing a certain traveler to be parched. We see him sitting next to a well, but unable to get water. Its mid-day which means no one will be at the well, so what it has to benefit in its solitude, it lacks due to its loneliness.

Not long after the traveler arrives he is joined by a woman. She is a bit startled to see someone here; in fact she comes to the well at this time to stay away from people. “Will you give me a drink?” Simple words that held a not so simple answer. “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan WOMAN. How can you ask me for a drink?”
By now you may have caught on to the story. The traveler is Jesus; the Samaritan woman is the woman at the well. Do you start to sense the tension that is building? In those days men didn’t speak to woman, and especially a RABBI would not even speak to his own WIFE in public. Yet Jesus calls out to this woman, for assistance. This woman… A SAMARATIN. Jews despised them, hated them, and went out of their way to walk around their lands. Yet he called out to her. Jesus called out to her. Jesus approached her. Jesus.

So often in the journey of life we find people we see as detestable, or annoying, or ‘needy’ and we do the ‘Christian thing right? No. We ignore them, we avoid them, we walk away from them, and we try to stay away from their houses. It may be your neighbor, the one who knocks on your door each night just to say Hi because they are lonely. It could be that person at church who is always trying to drop hints that they want to come over.

Why is it that our immediate reaction is to ignore them? Why don’t we love them? Why don’t we see them through the eyes of Jesus and LOVE THEM.
The example that Jesus shows us here is beautiful.

He first met her where she was. He personally initiated the conversation. He didn’t wait for her to say Hello, or be nice to him first. HE started it all
He engaged her in the conversation even though there was a stereotypical divide. What divides do you not cross? Is it the homeless? The Drug Addict?

Jesus caught her attention. In a world where no one was nice to her, or no one cared for her, Jesus approached her and took interest in her. Who does God keep bringing into your life for you to take interest in them but you keep ignoring them? They all have stories and when you take a true interest in their stories they will begin to trust you. Recently on a church project we were working on a home in Maryland. This home had a hole in half its roof. The floors were rotting out. And when we got to speak with the man who lived there, he had actually been the groundskeeper at the White House. They all have stories!

Jesus spoke truth into her life. After he showed her that he truly cared he was able to talk to her about the things that were holding her back.
Lastly Jesus didn’t give her what she wanted but what she needed. And the result was a life that was passionate. We read that she LEFT her water jug and ran back to the city to tell everyone she meets.

Many times we come across people in need just like Jesus but we miss it. I am sure there is a library the size of the Ancient library of Alexandria housed of these records of our missing the point. God will work when we allow him to.

See what Beth Guckenberger from Back2Back ministries had to say about one such ‘near’ miss:

..about halfway through the afternoon, I’m called over to solve a problem. On my way, I bump into a women and mutter “Con permiso,” and not to be deterred, I keep on going, I’m not there to pass out invitations. This is the big deal – an impressive plan.

Meanwhile, one of the young men from Oklahoma, who is trailing along in the wake of my determination, tries to strike up a conversation with the woman I brushed by. After exhausting his Spanish, he comes to my attention.

“That lady over there… I think she said she either has an orphanage or is one or has visited one or wants one… I don’t know… something along those lines. I think you should talk to her.”

I look at him and then close my eyes in response to the hair now standing up on my neck- which is a big deal considering the amount of sweat that’s there. Before I turn around, I can feel the Holy Spirit leap inside me.
Pay Attention, Ewing, I know it’s serious when that voice inside me uses my maiden name. I sigh, adjust my visor, glance at my clipboard, and hand it off to someone else.

When I turn around, more than two dozen little children, all dressed alike, are standing behind this woman, staring at me. I bet they’re wondering what’s so important that I needed to buzz completely past them.
That afternoon I meet Mama Cony and the children who live with her…..
We had a divine appointment that afternoon – but I had almost missed the Plan behind the plan because I was so busy with my agenda. …

Isn’t it hard to let go of our plans? Sometimes I’m so sure of myself, so confident that whatever is hardest to pull off, whatever is splashier or pays the biggest returns, is always God’s plan. Sometimes I think he looks at the little boy with the loaves instead of the grown man with the fancy plans. He looks at the woman with the perfume bottle rather than the spiritual leader hosting the lunch. He looks at the boy with the sling rather than the army.

So what meetings are you missing by not allowing changes to Your agenda?

Do you show them the love of Christ that impacts their life in a real way?

Do people leave you wanting to know more about God? Or are you ignoring them all and walking away; thus missing out on an opportunity of a lifetime to be God’s hands, feet, arms of Love…

No comments: